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US EPA advances Clean Water Rule rewrite

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has advanced a rewrite of the Clean Water Rule to the White House's Office of Management and Budget for review.

Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a June 15 news release that the new rule would reflect the feedback of farmers, ranchers, landowners, and other stakeholders who had concerns about the Obama administration's definition of the waters of the U.S. that are subject to environmental regulation. Often referred to as the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule, it was a joint effort of the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The proposal is the second step in Pruitt's planned reform the Clean Water Rule. The EPA's regulatory agenda, issued in May, indicated that the agency would propose a new WOTUS definition in August and finalize it in September 2019. The first step involved a regulatory action to delay the implementation of the WOTUS definition established by the Obama administration in 2015.

President Donald Trump has directed Pruitt to rewrite the Clean Water Rule to reflect the views of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Office of Management and Budget review is one of the last regulatory steps before a rule can be released to the public.